Here are five ways to lower your utility costs by improving the efficiency of your dryer.

Of the many appliances in your home, the dryer is one of the biggest consumers of energy. Therefore, ensuring that your dryer is operating with maximum efficiency is an effective way to save money on your electric bill and prolong the lifespan of this helpful appliance. In addition, due to the risk of fire associated with improperly maintained dryers, taking certain precautions is crucial to your family’s safety.

  1. Clean the lint screen regularly. Most homeowners know that removing built-up lint after each load of laundry is an important step for reducing the risk of fire. However, the thick layer of lint that can be easily peeled away and discarded is not the only debris that accumulates on the lint screen—residue from dryer sheets and finer dust can collect, creating a safety hazard and causing the dryer to operate less efficiently. To remove this debris, gently wash the screen using a toothbrush, mild soap, and warm water, and allow it to air dry before reinstalling.
  2. Have the dryer vent pipe professionally cleaned. As with the lint screen, debris accumulates in the dryer vent pipe, thereby restricting air flow, impairing the dryer’s efficiency, and raising the risk of fire. To minimize these risks, hire an appliance professional to clean out the vent pipe at least once per year, or more frequently if you use your dryer often. If you notice that the dryer is taking longer than usual to thoroughly dry your clothing, it may be time to have the vent pipe cleaned. If you are unsure, complete this simple test to check the inner door temperature: remove all clothing from the dryer, start the dryer on its normal cycle, and let it run for about three to five minutes. When it is done, touch the inside of the door—if if feels cool, then the vent pipe needs to be cleaned. On the other hand, if the inner door is warm to the touch, your dryer is functioning properly.
  3. Do not overfill the dryer. While you may be inclined to cram as many items into the dryer as possible in order to finish your pile of laundry sooner, dryers operate less efficiently when they are stuffed to the brim. Ideally, they should only be half full. Otherwise, the contents will not have enough room to move around, the air won’t circulate through them, and the load will take longer to dry—causing the dryer to consume more energy and running up your electric bill.
  4. Properly sort loads of laundry according to their density. Heavier items—such as jackets, denim, or towels—require more time to dry than lighter items, like thin t-shirts or undergarments. By keeping heavy items separate, you can dry the lighter items on shorter and cooler settings (on many appliances, these are the delicates or permanent press settings). Using these more efficient settings as often as possible will help keep your electric costs low. This method is also better for your clothing, as heavy items can cause tears or pilling in more delicate fabrics when the two are dried together.
  5. Keep the floor around the dryer clean. Dryers inhale air, so they will pull in any dust or lint surrounding them. This debris may cause them to function less efficiently, so it is important to regularly sweep and vacuum the space around the dryer. If possible, clean under and behind the dryer as well.

If you have followed these steps and are still noticing that your dryer is taking an excessive amount of time to dry clothing, it is time to consult an appliance professional. At Phoenix Appliance Services, we can clean your dryer vent pipe and take other steps to ensure that this important appliance is operating properly. The costs of taking preventative measures to help your dryer run at maximum efficiency will be far outweighed by the money that you will save on electric bills over the years. Call us today at (602) 330-6920, or contact us online at to request a quote!